If you’re an adolescent, you’re going to want to explore the world around you. Sure, there’s school and home, and you probably know those places well. But there might be a part of you that wants to test boundaries, be curious, and wonder about what your life might be like under different circumstances.
For these reasons, drugs are often a way to explore the world and test the boundaries and limitations of life. However, as you can imagine, drugs are not always so healthy. Although they can induce altered states, there is a danger of chemical dependence and physical and psychological harm. With a physical dependence, the body craves the drug and it becomes unable to function normally without the drug. For instance, drugs can easily lead to drug tolerance. With continued use, larger and larger doses of the drug are necessary to achieve the same effect. Also, if and when you stop taking the drug there may be symptoms of withdrawal. Lastly, you may experience a psychological dependence, which is the belief that a drug is needed to continue a feeling of emotional or psychological wellbeing. This alone is a very powerful factor in continued drug use. With a psychological dependence, there is continued use because you think they need it, and if there are no withdrawals to go through, psychological dependencies can last forever.
There are various forms of drugs, which can create different effects and lure you into exploring the world around you in unhealthy ways. For example, different categories of drugs include stimulants, which increase the functioning of the nervous system; depressants, which decrease the functioning of the nervous system; narcotics, which are painkilling depressant drugs; and lastly, hallucinogenics, which alter perceptions and cause hallucinations.
However, to avoid the above consequences and prevent any sort of physical and psychological dependencies, you might want to know about ways you can explore the world without these dangers. If you want to explore the world in healthy ways, you can try the following:
Participate in a sport. Exercise and sports can create the opportunity to test the limitations of your body. You can discover just how far you can run. You can explore how fast you can swim or how well you can maneuver your way across the field with a ball in order to make a touchdown. Playing a sport can help you sharpen your focus, refine your dexterity, and test your physical limitations – and perhaps break through them.
Be creative. By writing, drawing or dancing, you can explore your inner world and test the limitations of your thoughts and beliefs. You can uncover the limiting ways you think you need to behave or live your life. However, with creativity, you can partner with imagination and uncover new ways to see your life and perhaps blaze a new trail for yourself.
Talk to adults. A necessary part of being a teen is to be seen for who you are and what you want to do in life. Although there might be expectations such as going to college or getting a job, it’s important to be able to test those expectations and uncover instead what’s important to you. You can explore your world by talking to adults about what you want to do with your life. It’s important to do this with an adult you trust who is going to validate your experience and support your unique path rather than place more expectations upon you. By talking to an adult you can trust and who can really see you for who you are, you can test any limiting expectations and instead find out what’s important to you.
Read. Lastly, sometimes reading about the lives of others can inspire and open doors that you never knew were there. For instance, when one teen read the Autobiography of Gandhi, she realized that even Gandhi experienced self-doubt, just like she did. It was enlightening for her to see that she can have self-doubts and still achieve what she wants to achieve. This was a way to explore her world and open up to new possibilities.
If you’re an adolescent, perhaps this above list pointed out that there are others ways to explore life without the use of drugs. Drugs are going to bring a temporary high, but the suggestions above can bring a high that might last a lifetime.